PEPPERELL -- The Lawrence Library will be distributing surveys with the town census in January in preparation for developing its next five-year plan.

Library Director Deb Spratt said that the state requires libraries to identify long-range goals, some of which are determined through outreach to patrons.

"They encourage community feedback, so part of the process is including a survey. It seemed like a good way to tack it on to the census mailings and not have to incur those additional fees," Spratt said.

The two-page survey will ask Pepperell residents questions about where they would like the library to go over the next five years.

"It's a tool that we're using to try to determine the direction that the community would like the library to go. Do they want more e-books, do they want more programming or different kinds of programming, should we be focusing more on seniors because we are getting an aging population? Would people want us to be open on Mondays, or are there other evenings or hours that are more convenient? It's more of a tool to get a feel for what the community is looking for for the library, and it also helps us determine what our projects are," Spratt said.

There are also improvements that need to be made to the building that must be considered, including mortar repair and maintenance to the roof, she said.

In spring, Spratt says she hopes to hold one or two public forums where people will be able to come in and speak their minds about the library's offerings.


"It certainly engages the community, which is what you always want to do," she said.

The last time the library did a similar survey was probably about seven years ago, Spratt said, when they were preparing for their last five-year plan.

This plan would be submitted to the state in the fall and would cover fiscal years 2015 through 2020.

As well as being included with the census mailings, copies of the survey will be available both in the library and online in order to encourage as much participation as possible.

But while the survey will give the library an idea of what its patrons want, what can realistically be done will come down to funding.

"It's really going to come down to money and urgency," Spratt said.

Since she won't know how much money the library is allocated until spring Town Meeting, Spratt said it will hard to prioritize the library's to-do list until that point.

"If it turns out that our budget has to be cut 5 percent, all my dreams are out the window and everything is suspended. We will do our best to try to hear what the public wants and to provide what they're asking for in the context of what we're funded," Spratt said.

Follow Chelsea Feinstein on Twitter and Tout @CEFeinstein.